National monitoring system

Each year, we collect information from local authorities on their implementation of the RMA through the National monitoring system. This information is used to improve policy and practice at the national and local level.

About the National Monitoring System

Why we have a National Monitoring System

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is the main piece of legislation guiding the management of New Zealand’s environment. Most of the everyday decision-making under the Act is delegated to local authorities (ie, territorial authorities and regional councils). 

Each year, we collect information from local authorities on their implementation of the RMA through the National Monitoring System (NMS). This information is used to improve policy and practice at the national and local level. 

What the National Monitoring System is

The NMS is a spreadsheet that councils fill in annually and submit to the Ministry. 

Councils are asked to provide detailed information on:

  • every plan or policy statement worked on 
  • every resource consent issued
  • other functions, tools and processes that councils are responsible for under the RMA. 

Most of the questions asked in the NMS are the same from year to year. Some are added or dropped as information requirements change. We have compiled and published this information as a national dataset for each financial year since 2014/15.    

How National Monitoring System data is used

NMS data is used to:

  • inform the development of resource management policy and practice by national and local government 
  • confirm local authorities are fulfilling their roles and responsibilities under the RMA
  • promote examples of RMA implementation best practice 
  • measure the success of RMA reforms
  • test common perceptions of the performance of the RMA system.

The NMS built upon and replaced the biennial RMA Survey of Local Authorities, which ran from 1996/97 to 2012/13. 

For more detailed information on the NMS, including the general structure and content, read the discussion document from when the NMS was proposed.

National Monitoring System for the Resource Management Act 1991 – A proposal for discussion

Resource Consents Explorer: Council implementation of the Resource Management Act

Access and explore data on resource consent applications processed by councils from 2014/15 to 2018/19. 

Launch the Resource consents explorer

Summary tables: Council implementation of the Resource Management Act

Access data on council implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991 on key topics. The data is from the National Monitoring System.

Download data from all councils on all topics

Search by council and topic below

Complete datasets: Council implementation of the Resource Management Act

Download the complete data for 2014/15 to 2018/19 on council implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991. The data is from the National Monitoring System.

Before the NMS - the RMA Survey of Local Authorities

Patterns and trends in council implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991 from 1996/17 to 2012/13. Data is from the RMA Survey of Local Authorities. 

Reporting from the RMA Survey of Local Authorities

About the RMA Survey of Local Authorities

Between 1995 and 2014, 11 national surveys monitored local government implementation of the RMA. 

The survey was our principal source of information about RMA processes. It helped us monitor the implementation and operation of the RMA. This included reviewing how local authorities implemented both the RMA and recommended good practices. 

The survey did not measure the performance of the RMA in delivering better environmental outcomes. Nor did it measure how well individual councils delivered these outcomes. This occurs through state of the environment monitoring and reporting at both the national and local level.

Data councils need to provide for the National Monitoring System

Data councils are required to provide on their implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991.

We ask local authorities to populate the NMS Excel template for 2019/20 (see below) and email it to us at nms@mfe.govt.nz by the submission due date of 30 November 2020.

The guidance document explains how to populate the Excel template. 

If you have any questions email nms@mfe.govt.nz or phone 022 517 3280.

Information requirements for 2020/21 and Excel template

NMS data for 2020/21 should be submitted by 31 August 2021.  

Information requirements for 2019/20 

NMS data for 2019/20 should be submitted by 30 November 2020.  

Information requirements — 2018/19 

NMS 2018/19 was due on 31 August 2019.

Previous information requirements